Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OLD VERMONT ROADS, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY

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OLD VERMONT ROADS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The old-time roads, they used to run
Last Line: Them roads the fathers used to travel.
Subject(s): Mountains; Roads; Travel; Vermont; Hills; Downs (Great Britain); Paths; Trails; Journeys; Trips

THE old-time roads, they used to run
Right over all the hills and rises,
And made the shortest kind of cut
To get to Benning Wentworth's prizes;
They wasn't tipped with tepid tar,
They might have made a shofer cavil,
But they was all the kind of roads
Our settler fathers had to travel.

They run them roads from town to town
About the way they shot a rifle;
A river didn't change their course,
A mountain made 'em bend a trifle;
Oh! yes; they jest was "water-bound"—
No grease or graft or even gravel,
But still they averaged 'bout as good
As what we modern "dusties" travel.

The fathers didn't walk abroad
Arrayed in pumps and Paris slippers;
They took no hikes along the pikes,
They never posed as "Sunday trippers;"
They didn't wash their socks with lux,
Or rense 'em out in eau de javel,
And where they went they had to go—
That's why the fathers used to travel.

It's 'bout the same with us to-day;
You don't back out your panting flivver
To take a pleasure ride—not much—
And get an embolismic liver;
You know jest how a shell-hole looks,
You've seen all sorts of "surface" ravel,
You know that when you near a bridge
You'll see it billed, "Unsafe for Travel."

And when a highway hit a grant
In them old days, it didn't schism,
But plowed right through to Center Town,
Like highbrows chasing up an ism;
And there they built a hard-shell church,
But didn't fool with soft-shell gravel—
The road the circuit-rider used
Was good enough for all to travel.

The teams from Albany got through,
The stages seldom missed in Summer,
The sacred cod was right on hand
But not as yet the Boston drummer;
He didn't come until he heard
The rap of Trade's compelling gavel,
And all the road he counted on
Was one a traveling man could travel.

It's great to trace them roadways now
Through worn-out field and back-lot mowing;
The suller holes and lilac trees
Still show where life was once a-flowing;
They're smoother now than lots of "pikes,"
A-dumdummed up with soft-nose gravel—
I often wish we had 'em back,
Them roads the fathers used to travel.

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